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Puerto Rico's Colonial Saga

An island-crippling Hurricane one-year-ago from which Puerto Rico is yet to recover, coupled with arguments of slow federal relief and a false claim by President Donald Trump that the amended figure of 2,975 deaths associated with the storm, was not accurate, have all now directed attention to Puerto Rico's colonial saga as a territory of the United States (US).

Last September, Hurricane Maria destroyed a large swath of normality across Puerto Rico -  a Caribbean archipelago, acquired by the US via the Treaty of Paris in 1899 following the 1898 end of the Spanish-American War. 

Power outages were very wide spread across the island in the aftermath of the storm and many people died. After Hurricane Maria, researchers counted Puerto Rico's actual death toll, directly related to the storm, at 2,975 -  a figure accepted by its government. 

Puerto Rico is a territory of the US and not a state, thus it residents, although holding US citizenship, cannot vote for president. The territory has a non-voting delegate in the US House of Representatives. 

However, last week as another hurricane, Florence, threatened the east coast of the US mainland, memories and anger over Puerto Rico's suffering were rekindled when Trump challenged the accuracy of the legitimate 2,975 deaths.

In rebuffing Trump, Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello, of the New Progressive Party that seeks statehood for the territory, argued that Puerto Ricans were disenfranchised and treated like "second-class citizens". He said: "We need to solve the century-old problem of colonialism in Puerto Rico."

His comments were fitting considering the justafix position of the island- territory's status of being unable to vote for president and not having a vote in Congress. On June 11, 2017, in a low-voter turnout of just 23%, Puerto Ricans commandingly approved a referendum for statehood with 97.18% of the votes. Yet, its saga as a territory continues as it slowly recovers from Hurricane Maria.